On a personal note, it’s great to have PapiG back to the phsyical gaming table, though you never left us in spirit. Welcome back, brother.
Ken returned to the Creed House late that day. The headlights revealed Jake’s truck to be gone. “Damn,” he cursed to no one in particular, now he would have to tell his story twice. After telling Troy, Cain, and Anthony about the Electricity Spirit, they all decided that the next day’s business would be to check out the area more thoroughly.
I decided to get Jake’s and Val’s shifts at the hospital changed. It wasn’t just blanket cruelty by the ST. I just realized that keeping the story moving at a solid pace would be difficult if everyone was waiting to be together for the major parts. It wasn’t fully played at the table, but this is how it played out.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Val and Jake were having a difficult time, though not for the same reason. Barbara Ann, the chief night nurse, called Val into her office. The long and short of it was another nurse, a townie who had several years with the hospital, needed to switch from the second shift to the third shift. Her husband had just gotten a new job, so she needed to be home for her kids. “You understand,” Barbara Ann had said, “I’ll need you to switch up, permanently.” Yeah, Val understood being low woman on the totem pole. Fuck, she had liked sleeping late.
In the basement, Jake was sitting in front of his supervisor’s desk. “I know you young guys like to party and stay up to all hours, but what I’m looking for is someone with responsibility.” Jake thought that fighting for your spot in the world wasn’t much of a party, but knew better than to explain it to a human. “Mopping the same part of the floor near the nurse’s station ain’t really the job.” Maybe, just maybe, he had been spending a bit too much time chatting with Val. “And it’s not like I’m letting you go, you’ll be working for Carl. He’s a good guy.” A good guy who, according to you, doesn’t know shit from sugar, right.
Val recounts her story to the rest of her housemates at breakfast the next day, handing the fishbone over to Ken. Both Ken and Anthony look for any spiritual resonance on the bone with the gift of Two-World Eyes, but the bone has no image in the Spirit World. Ken decides to check out Magliore’s, Val and Jake, frustrated from their reassignment, decide to join him. Cain thinks that it might be a good idea to check up on Mike Verne. He wants to make sure Verne wasn’t being influenced by spirits. Anthony plans to catch up on some sleep, knowing that he and Troy will have a busy night along the power lines.
The Italian restaurant is quiet during the day. Val and Jake stand guard as Ken looks around back. He notices that there’s heightened security on the employee enterance. A metal guard blocks the deadbolt and cameras watch the door. He calls upon his fetish, Scent Catcher, but finds it difficult for some reason. He strengthens his resolve focusing on its power. Scents assault him. Even after being Uratha for some time, he is still amazed at how much his human nose misses. The only thing out of the ordinary is the smell of gun oil. Ken then calls upon his Gift of Two-World Eyes, this time, prepared for the resistance. Like the Creed House, the first thing Ken notices is the lack of minor spirits. There are almost no Lesser Gafflings to be seen. He sees the spirit imprint of Magliore’s. It is the spitting image of what he would call iconic New York Italian. It smells of cooking sauces, the tables all have checkered tablecloths, just as if it were right out of a movie. Nothing led him to make any guesses about the fishbone.
He came around to his allies, “Nothing here, maybe if we come back when it’s open.”
Jake and Val nodded, “Speaking of food,” Val grumbled, “I could use some breakfast.” The three walk down the street. Some of the locals had mentioned Grandma’s Kitchen as the place to go for an early meal.
Sounds of screeching tires turned the corner. The three werewolves looked to see a Ford POS barrelling towards them. Jake reacted quickly, thinking only for the safety of his fellow People, he pushed them towards the curb. The car attempted to swere at the last possible moment. Jake saw the panicked look on the driver’s face as the car struck him. He felt his body leave the ground. There was the sound of breaking glass and something snapped inside of him. The ground rose up to meet him, then there was only blackness.
Val rushed forward before onlookers from the diner could get close to Jake. Ken called out, “It’s okay, she’s a nurse,” while trying to get a good look at the plate of the speeding car. The regeneration ability of werewolves is truly a sight to behold. The bloody bruises on Jake began to close. The deep red quickly turned to purple, then completely disappeared. Jake’s eyes fluttered open, “Where’s my hat?”.
They followed the crowd of onlookers back into the diner. “Are you folks alright?” A middle-aged woman with the name tag of ‘Ma’ approached them. Val repeated that she was a nurse, and that Jake would be alright. Ken asked for a phone, saying he wanted to call the sheriff. She retured with a cordless phone and three coffees, “He must have been an out of towner, locals around here are good law abiding folk.” “No insult intended, mind you,” she added, having never seen the three before.
“We’re locals now,” Val corrected, explaining that they had recently moved into the Creed House. She also ignored the statement Ma made about the previous people that lived there, how they called themselves a ‘family.’ On the phone, Ken talks with Kathy Pope, she tells him that the sheriff is busy, but she’ll send Deputy Cain.
After getting the story from the others, Cain gets on the trail. His law enforcement computer doing a quicker job than his nose could do in wolf form. The tag is quickly identified as belonging to a local named Jerry Fogle. He drives to the Fogle’s listed residency to find it abandoned. There’s no car in the driveway and the house looks unoccupied. Fogle’s neighbor is another story.
The next house over looks abandoned at first glance. A pile of newspapers are strewn across the front yard. The mailbox is stuffed with what looks like a week of mail. A tendril of smoke out of the chimney is the only sign that someone is home. “Go away,” is the only response to Cain’s knock. He decides to use his position to open the guy up, “Ben’s the only law here and you sure as fuck ain’t him!” Cain wants to kick the door open and put his gun down the mouth of this asshole, but instead he holds his badge against the door window. “I don’t care if that shit’s from a Cracker Jack’s box or if it’s real. You don’t have a reason to be here, so get the fuck off of my property or I’ll shoot you.” Cain clenches his fists, but decides to leave.
The group from town returns and tells their story. Troy is unable to quell his laughter, letting out a sharp, mocking laughter. “You think me getting hit by a car is funny?” Jake says, stepping up in front of Troy.
“Yeah, I do,” Troy responds, ready to back up his comments.
As the sun begins to set, Troy, Cain, and Anthony set off to the site of the Electricity Spirit’s attack. They begin to look around and notice nothing out of the ordinary. Looking into the Spirit World, Anthony sees only regular activity. Electricity Spirits speed along the power lines, Tree spirits wave in their ritual dance, an Owl spirit strikes another in the air, consuming it. “It was just an accident, nothing’s wierd here.”
“If everything’s okay here, maybe there was something with the workers,” Troy muses.
“Nah, it was just random,” Anthony confirms, “Stupid hick was probably just drinking on the job.” Cain and Anthony decide to drive back home, perhaps the others found something interesting when they went to eat at Magliore’s. “Just hope nobody ordered the fish,” Anthony jokes. Troy stays behind, wanting to scout the way home, marking out the group’s territory.
Much like during the day, Magliore’s revealed nothing out of the ordinary at dinner. Val mentions the owner or maybe he was just the maitre-de, Thomas Magliore. It was like he was trying to be a stereotypical made-man. He was shaking their hands and holding their arms. “We should see it in the Hisil,” Ken suggests. The group waits for Troy to return before going to the locus and shift under its unearthly light into the Shadow Realm.
The group climbs out of the vault-like surrounding of their locus, into the wolf den-Victorian home of the Creed House. Brush and matted down earth mixes with sharp angles and cast iron Franklin stoves. Outside, the group manages to see a plant-like tendril snake out of the pond. A small Rabbit spirit screams as it is slowly drug under the waters by Drowns-in-Lace.
The group travel in the powerful Near-Wolf form towards town. They feel resistance as they enter into the light cast by Main Street’s lampposts. Anthony and Cain are especially shocked as they are forced back into their human form by the light. Ken points out the strange symbols carved into the glass panes of the lampposts, “They must do something with the Gauntlet, make it stronger here in town.
“That’s a bad thing, right?” Cain says, already knowing the answer, and climbs up the post. He makes a fist.
“Maybe that’s…” Ken doesn’t get to finish as Cain slams his fist into the glass. As it shatters, the impulsive werewolf dodges a burst of fire from the post. It flickers out and the surrounding night swallows a bit of the town. The pack immediately feel as if they are being watched. An eagle made of gold circles above them and then returns in the direction of city hall. Two coins the size of manholes roll out of the local bank. They shine in the light before rolling back inside. Awnings shift like eyes, looking in the werewolves’ direction. The group shrug it off and head towards the spirit reflection of Magliore’s.
A vague sense of menace permeates the air inside the restaurant. As the jingle of the door bells quiets, the group sees a spirit form in the middle of the room. It is dressed like a mobster of old. It wears a pin-striped suit, its corners pressed so well that they look like they could cut cleanly. A gold pocket watch hangs at its side. The spirit’s face is not made of flesh, but of cold steel, and smells like a tangy mixture of marinara and gunsmoke.
Ken steps forward, “I’d like to ask”
“Who the fuck said you Uratha could come into my place?” It interrupts abruptly. Ken is shocked, stepping back slightly. He had heard that most spirits were blatantly antagonistic towards the People, his grandmother’s pack were respected enough back home. He had also never heard one speak so well in the Human tongue.
“All we wanted to know,” Ken tried to continue.
“You come in here, into my house and make demands of me? Who the fuck do you think you are?”
Troy stepped to the side of Ken, his voice taking a menacing tone “We don’t want any trouble.”
The spirit unbuttoned its jacket, the group could see two chrome pistols swing forward, “That’s right, you don’t want any trouble. You come into my house and bring nothing to the table and ask me for a favor?” The spirit shook its head in disdain.
Chiminage, Ken realised. “We’d be willing to do you a favor in return for some information,” he asked politely.
The spirit shimmered for a moment, reappearing behind the seat of a table. Steaming plates of spaghetti and glasses of wine came into being. “That’s better. Have a seat and we’ll talk.”
“What would you want us to do?” Ken asked warily, part of him wanted to offer a gift of Essence, but he couldn’t. After the rat spirits had raided their home, the group was low on the precious resource.
“See there,” the spirit nodded its head up the street. The group followed his gaze to a Chinese restaurant, “Yeah, that Chink mother-fucker up the road. Let’s just say he can’t do no business for a bit. It would be unfortunate if they’d have to close down on a Friday night, maybe even for the whole weekend. It’d be a real mess if they found roaches or some rats, don’t you think?”
Ken nodded in agreement and shook the spirit’s hand in accord.
It smiled widely, “Now, what can I do for you?” Ken asked about the fish served at the store. “Yeah, my boys in the back have been having some trouble with them for the last three months or so.” The group looked back and saw some Knife spirits tap themselves on cutting boards in thanks for recognition. “That other night, though, this one fucker goes all ape-shit and reaches across the Gauntlet before he can be cut down.” Val forces herself to stifle a laugh as she imagines a knife chasing around a fish through the restaurant, across tables, between patrons legs.
Ken thought it was odd. So many types of food served here, but only the fish spirits were awake. Nothing else was amiss. “Thank you for your help. I’ll see to that favor.”
“One more question,” Troy begins.
The spirit stands up, “What! You think I give you some answers, I feed you, and you think were friends?”
“No,” Troy levels his voice, “We’re never friends.” He turns, leaving with his allies.
The spirit of Magliore’s Italian Restaurant smiled, “A pleasure, come back again.”